“I believe we create our own lives. And we create it by our thinking, feeling patterns in our belief system. I think we’re all born with this huge canvas in front of us and the paintbrushes and the paint, and we choose what to put on this canvas.” ~ Louise Hay
If there is one area of my life where I feel like a bit of an expert and have wisdom to share it’s in the area of love. I joke with my friends that I am going to write a book someday; maybe this blog post is a start!
So what’s my story? Why do I feel like I ‘know it all’ (well a lot for sure). On the eve of my 42nd birthday I am happier than I have ever been. I am in a mature, loving, committed relationship with a wonderful man. He is my best friend and we are happily building a home and family together.
But this is all still fairly new to me; I didn’t meet Roger until I was on the eve of my 40th birthday, 2 years ago this month. Before then, my love life was more soap opera than fairy tale.
For my adult life until my 40th year, I had a number of relationships and dated quite frequently. I’ve dated and been in relationships with a number of lovely men over the years but for one reason or another nothing ever stuck. I had a good many days wondering ‘what is wrong with me, why does it seem so easy for others but so hard for me?’ and of course the thought ‘there are no good men out there’. I had so much good going on in other parts of my life I kept thinking ‘You can’t have it all! You are healthy, have a wonderful family, a good job and money… that’s enough. You are the one who won’t have a successful love life.’
Well then, how did I go from perpetually single to happily committed? Let me tell you, it wasn’t doing what I have always done. So let me segue into my lessons in love, because these are not lessons I’ve read about, they are lessons I have learned in the school of hard (love) knocks.
1. Change your attitude.
It saddens me when I hear people say “there are no good men (or women) out there”, or “all the good ones are taken”. It hits home because that was me, it was almost my mantra. But through my love of online feel-good blogs I started understanding that what we focus on expands. Let me say that again WHAT WE FOCUS ON EXPANDS. So yes, if you focus on the undesirables out there or if every time you date someone you wonder to yourself ‘what’s wrong with them?’ or focus on their imperfections, you will never find someone who is nice and you are willing to accept.
When I decided that I was going to flip my thought process and instead say ‘there are lovely men out there and I will find one’, guess what… a nice one came my way! And also, while we are on this train of thought, if you’re ideal mate has to fit a list of criteria as long as your arm, you’ll have trouble filling the role. Have a few non-negotiables for sure but be willing to meet people that you would otherwise turn away from because they weren’t the right height, didn’t have the right job or hair colour!
2. Become your own best friend.
“You cannot be lonely if you like the person you are alone with.” ~Wayne Dyer
It sounds cliché but it’s true. If you don’t like being in your own company or worse (but equally as prevalent I think) if you don’t even like yourself, then you’re making it really hard for others to like you. Treat yourself well inside and out. Stay healthy physically by eating well, exercising, doing yoga, getting fresh air and breathing deeply. Treat yourself to a massage, buy yourself something nice, take yourself out to dinner. Do something special, just for you.
The second part of this, and most important, is to become mindful of the way you talk to yourself, your inner dialogue. This is hard and takes practice but start with an awareness of your inner voice. See if you can observe your thoughts instead of actively participate in them. Deep breathing and meditation are wonderful to help you slow down your thoughts. This could be a whole blog post on its own! I did write about something similar a while ago, check it out here.
Bottom line, stop talking smack to yourself, practice being nice to you inside and out!
3. Take responsibility for your own happiness.
Do you feel like you are not complete, that you’ll be much happier when you meet someone who fills you up and makes you laugh? Someone who you can share your dreams and days with? I won’t lie, I love having someone in my corner and share my days and home with. But I remember the time bells went off in my head when I realized that I was making my mates responsible for my happiness. I think it was when I felt pressure from the person I was dating at the time to make them happy. I couldn’t handle that pressure and realized, OMG… that’s been me!
Make a list of things you are looking for from another person, that you think will make you happy, and then see if you can start to do some of those things for yourself? And please, push away the drama. If you are tired of having to shovel on your own after every snow storm (been there, done that and got the worn out shovel to prove it) pay someone to do it, get your neighbour a gift card in exchange for their help. Take that drama and unhappiness out of the equation.
And on a similar note…
4. Do it yourself.
How about travelling or going on adventures? Those are important things to me and for years I thought I couldn’t do any of it until I had a partner to do that with me. One time after a break up I started to talk about the fact that I wanted to go to Europe. I had this huge itch to travel and felt like I’d never meet anyone who wanted to do that with me. Then sure enough, I found a girlfriend that was up for the adventure. I haven’t looked back. I’ve travelled quite a bit on my own since then and feel very fulfilled. Take a look at the things you are waiting to do and see if you can start doing some of these things on your own. Learn to enjoy your own company.
5. Make space.
This last one is very ‘fung shui’ey for sure but it worked for me! There’s two parts:
a. Make space in your schedule. If you are so busy that you can’t find the time to reflect, to sit and to maybe do some of this work then what makes you think you’ll have time in your day or week for a partner? Find some time to ‘just be’. In our go-go-go world this is hard to do, but if you can it will really send a signal to the universe that you are serious. Find a spot to meditate, then sit.
b. Make space in your home. Yup, clean out a drawer and keep it empty, make a little space in your closet. If your bedroom or home is super feminine or masculine see if you can balance it out a bit. There are lots of tips out there on how to fung shui your life and home to make it conducive for love. I love following Tao of Dana. Check out her blog post on this exact topic.
There is a lesson in everything. It may not be clear right away but with time you can usually see that things turn out a certain way for a reason. Step back, look at the experience and reflect. How can you take control of your story? Be willing to change, to try something different. It wasn’t until I examined and then changed my beliefs, thoughts and actions that my life changed. We are all worthy of great love, it just has to start with ourselves. xo
“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” ~Joseph Campbell